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Third Trimester: Know what to expect

It’s the final countdown (insert pump up music here)!! The third trimester runs from week 28 through delivery. At this point, we may be totally ready for Baby to get here already, or we may feel completely unprepared and wishing for more time. Either way, our bodies are continuing to change, and of course Baby’s is too. Today we’ll talk through what symptoms to look out for and how our babies’ last developments are coming along so you can be ready for all the changes life will soon bring.

Third Trimester Symptoms

By this point, Baby is about 2.5 pounds and will reach typically between 6 and 9 pounds by delivery. With such a growth spurt, our bodies are likely to feel very pregnant! Here’s what to expect:

Abdominal achiness

To make room for the baby bump, the ligaments in the abdomen will stretch quite a bit, causing some cramps. There isn’t much that can be done to prevent this, but warm baths may help soothe the aches.

Backache

Just as in the second trimester, our growing babies do put extra pressure on our backs. The heavier Baby gets, the more aches we may feel, but maintaining good posture, wearing supportive shoes, and sleeping with a pillow between the legs can continue to alleviate that pressure.

Braxton Hicks contractions

Delivery is coming soon, so our bodies will start practicing with these “false contractions.” These should be less painful than real contractions and occur irregularly, while real contractions will happen close together. If you’re experiencing severe abdominal or back pain with your contractions, talk to your doctor immediately to be sure these are not real contractions.

Clumsiness

Because of our crazy hormones and growing belly to throw us off balance, we may easily drop things, forget things, or have trouble walking straight. Just be cautious, remember your body is going through a lot, and feel free to laugh at yourself a little.

Fatigue

Remember, our bodies are working overtime to take care of another person. We may feel tired and sluggish more easily, but we can maintain our energy by eating well and staying active.

Lack of bladder control

Just like Baby puts pressure on our backs and ligaments, our bladders will get it, too. We should always listen to our bodies and not try to hold it in. Practicing Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) is important in strengthening these muscles, which will also help us in delivery. Ask your doctor at your next appointment to walk you through how to do Kegels if you’ve never done them before.

Leaky breasts

Our uteruses practice Braxton Hicks, so it makes sense that our breasts practice for nursing, too. It shouldn’t be enough to need to change, but you may want some tissues nearby just in case.

Stretch marks

Nobody’s favorite part of pregnancy, stretch marks are tiny tears in the skin due to the skin stretching to its limit. Moisturizers may reduce the appearance, though studies are inconclusive as to how much they actually work. However, the marks should begin to fade after pregnancy.

Weight gain

We should gain about half a pound to one pound a week during the third trimester, and gain between 25 to 35 pounds total throughout our pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your specific weight goals, as every woman’s body is different.

Wild dreams

Hormones plus the anticipation of delivery could lead some scary/hilarious/downright weird pregnancy dreams. Enjoy sharing the silliness with your friends and family, and talk about any fears plaguing you. Big changes are coming, and it’s important to talk through your feelings with loved ones.

Seek emergency help if…

Seek immediate attention if you experience:

  • Sharp abdominal pain
  • Bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain or not enough weight gain
  • Pain or burning while urinating

Do not wait until your next checkup to bring up any of these red flag symptoms.

What’s going on with Baby?

Time for Baby to develop the finishing touches before the big debut! All kinds of cool things are happening in there:

  • Bones: Baby’s cartilage will harden into bone around 7 or 8 months. He or she will be snagging calcium from you, so be sure to keep taking your vitamins and eat calcium-rich foods.
  • Brain: The brain grows rapidly in these last weeks, and it’ll start signaling the body to blink, dream, and regulate temperature. The senses continue to develop as well, and by week 31, all five senses will be active.
  • Digestive system: The intestines will start to fill with meconium (Baby’s first poop), which is made up mostly of blood cells, vernix and lanugo.
  • Movement: Baby will likely kick more often and develop a firm grasp. However, he or she will also starting taking up the whole amniotic sack, so space becomes limited!
  • Skin: Up until week 32, Baby’s skin has been see-through, but will now become opaque. Both the lanugo (the downy coat that’s been keeping Baby warm) and the vernix (the waxy stuff that protects against the acidity of the amniotic fluid) will shed around week 36 as fat develops. The skin will eventually become pinky and smooth, as we’d expect it to be as we look at our babies for the first time outside the womb.
  • Turning: To prep for delivery, Baby will begin turning downward around week 34. He or she will go heads-down, bottom’s up, or could stay stuck in breech position. In the case that Baby does not go head-first, the doctor may start to turn Baby manually beginning in week 37.

Labor Signs

Eventually our due dates will come around, or we may go into labor early. Remember that the due date is just an estimate, so don’t freak out if is passes by or Baby comes a little early. Do however take signs of labor seriously, especially as early labor can lead to complications for us or our babies.

If you experience more severe contractions than just Braxton Hicks or a rushing of fluid from the birth canal (water breaking), these are telltale signs that Baby is ready to be born. Seek medical attention immediately and begin whatever your birth plan is.

Want help prepping for Baby? Lifeline’s Earn While You Learn program provides prenatal and parenting education and baby supplies to new and expecting parents at no cost to you. Call today to learn more or make an appointment with our trained nurses.

By Kath Crane

Resources:

https://www.whattoexpect.com/third-trimester-of-pregnancy.aspx
https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/third-trimester-of-pregnancy#1

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/fetal-development/art-20045997
Regan, Lesley. I’m Pregnant! A Week-by-week guide from conception to birth. DK Publishing, Inc. New York, NY. 2005.

Second Trimester: Know what to expect

Congrats, you’ve made it to the second trimester! That’s a reason to celebrate, because growing another person is a big deal and hard work. If you experienced some unpleasantries during the first trimester, breathe a sigh of relief because the second trimester is famous for being the most comfortable weeks of pregnancy. We’ve got the lowdown on what to expect during weeks 12 through 27, both in our bodies and our babies’!

Second Trimester Symptoms

Annoyances like morning sickness and breast tenderness should fade away around the second trimester, but in case we forget our bodies will remind us that we are indeed pregnant. We can expect the following symptoms:

Backache

Since our new little friend is growing, the extra weight places extra pressure on our backs. Wearing supportive shoes, practicing good posture, and sleeping with a pillow between the legs are all everyday habits we can form that’ll save our backs during and after pregnancy.

Bleeding gums

Our blood flow increases during these nine months, including to the gums. This can cause greater gum sensitivity and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Keeping up dental hygiene is super important during pregnancy, as some studies have shown that women with gum disease may be more likely to go into labor prematurely. Try a softer toothbrush and flossing gently, but we shouldn’t stop brushing or flossing!

Breast enlargement

Our bodies are prepping for producing milk, so the breasts will keep on growing, though they’ll probably feel less tender than during the first trimester. Going up a bra size can give extra comfort.

Congestion and nosebleeds

Stuffy or bloody noses may be more frequent, as our changing hormones can cause the mucus membranes in our noses to swell. Saline drops can help with this, as can decongestants, but always check with your doctor before taking any medications during pregnancy. Sleeping with an air humidifier in the room may help reduce congestion.

Hair growth

Those good ol’ hormones may lead to hair popping up in unusual places, like the face, arms, or back. The hair on our heads may also become thicker. It’s safest to stick to plucking or shaving unwanted hair, as waxing or laser hair removal are not recommended during pregnancy.

Quickening

Also known as fluttering, this that classic “butterflies in the stomach” sensation we all hear about. These are some of the first movements we feel from our babies. Some women don’t experience this until sixth months in, so don’t freak out if you don’t experience fluttering for a while.

Skin changes

Hormones can make our faces flush, creating that “pregnancy glow.” We may also experience what’s known as “pregnancy mask,” some darkening of the skin under the eyes, as well as a dark line running down the abdomen toward the belly button due to an increase in melanin. These dark areas should clear up after delivery as hormone levels return to normal.

Swelling of the feet and ankles

About 75% of pregnant women experience swelling, usually starting around week 22 until delivery. Staying active, sleeping on our sides, and avoiding long stints of sitting or standing can keep the puffiness under control.

Varicose and spider veins/hemorrhoids

Because of increased blood flow to baby, our skin may show tiny red veins, sometimes called spider veins. More swollen, blue veins are known as varicose veins, and can actually be itchy or uncomfortable. Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins that form around the anus, and can also become more frequent during pregnancy. Soaking in a bath and over-the-counter treatments can help hemorrhoids (always ask a doctor first), and propping up our legs can clear up varicose veins.

Weight gain

We should be eating about 300-500 extra calories a day and gaining half a pound to one pound a week during the second trimester. Check in with your doctor about what healthy weight gain looks like for you.

Seek emergency help if…

Seek immediate attention if you experience:

  • Sharp abdominal pain
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Severe dizziness
  • Rapid weight gain or not enough weight gain

Do not wait until your next checkup to bring up any of these red flag symptoms.

What’s going on with Baby?

Baby spent a lot of time developing organs during the first trimester, and now it’s time for major growth of all those systems. By the end of the second trimester, we’re carrying about a 2 pound baby! Big milestones include:

  • Hair and skin: Baby’s first hairs are popping up around week 16, and eyelashes and eyebrows around week 22. A downy coat known as lanugo forms also around the skin to warm up Baby until they develop more fat later on in pregnancy, as well as a layer of oil to protect the skin from the acidity of the amniotic fluid.
  • Flavor palate: This body system has already developed from the first trimester, but now Baby gets to fully taste all the foods we eat through the amniotic fluid. Studies have shown that what we eat during pregnancy may influence our kids’ tastes after delivery, so maybe if we eat our fruits and veggies they’ll be more apt to as well!
  • Eyes and ears: The eyes and ears are transitioning into their correct positions, and by week 22 Baby will start hearing and seeing, including hearing your own voice!
  • Heart: The brain will start regulating Baby’s heartbeat, so it’ll stop beating so spontaneously. The capillaries also begin forming and carrying oxygenated blood throughout Baby’s body around week 25.
  • Movement: Baby can now kick and move around from side to side. If you eat a snack right before your 18-20 week ultrasound, you may get to see your baby dance around on screen!

Want to learn more?

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers confidential services including ultrasounds, prenatal education, counseling, and more at no cost. Our hope is that you get the resources you need throughout your pregnancy and into motherhood. Call today or click below to make an appointment with our trained nurses.

By Kath Crane

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/second-trimester-of-pregnancy#4

https://www.whattoexpect.com/second-trimester-of-pregnancy.aspx

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/pregnancy_and_childbirth/second_trimester_85,p01234

Changes of Motherhood

As we look ahead to Mother’s Day, we might naturally think of our own mothers.  It may be easy to think of things we wish we could change about our relationships with our own moms or things we wish we could change about ourselves as mothers.  But even with all the imperfections, today we want to celebrate all the moms out there who are giving it their all. Motherhood is not easy, but it can be good. It is an incredible gift, one that joyfully engages us just as we are and yet graciously refuses to let us remain unchanged.

So, today let’s take a deep breath and consider the gift of motherhood and all the changes that come with it.  Our weekend plans, body shape, and the quality and quantity of our sleep is changed by the birth of a child. Life is suddenly splattered by mess, and lots of interruptions, and (SO MUCH) laundry.  But our attitudes and priorities are transformed as well. There are times that this process is obvious, and we feel like everyone can see us failing. But plenty of days, this change is harder to recognize – we respond with a calm word and patient smile instead of a quick snap of frustration, or we take the time to practice apology and forgiveness.  Over time, the smallest moments result in real and noticeable changes.

Motherhood can feel like a lot of responsibility, but maybe its purpose is actually pretty simple – to love and enjoy our kids.  For now, we can choose to pay attention to the life and joy all around us. Best of all, we aren’t on this journey of motherhood alone.  There are other moms who can offer support and hope for all the changes along the way. Whether that encouragement comes in the form of a support group at Lifeline, a reliable babysitter, or a friend, we are better together.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who are changing the world by loving well!

Busting addiction during pregnancy

When a new life grows inside us, we may start to think more about how our everyday habits affect our minds and bodies, especially when it comes to addictive behaviors. We already owe it to ourselves to bust an addiction, whether that be to cigarettes or alcohol, but a pregnancy gives us even more reason to quit. Let’s address three different addictive behaviors, how they affect pregnancy, and how we can break free from them.

Smoking

We’ve all heard the hazards of smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are known to be harmful and 69 that can cause cancer. Smoking can lead to health issues like:

  • Cancer (lung, mouth, throat, kidney, blood, and others).
  • Heart and lung disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Stroke.
  • Gum disease.
  • Eye conditions, including blindness.
Beyond these conditions that harm adults, smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of:
  • Preterm labor. Babies born premature are more likely to develop health problems than babies born full-term.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a baby implants outside of the uterus, where he or she is supposed to grow. A baby cannot survive an ectopic pregnancy, and this is also extremely dangerous to the life and health of the mother. Read our post on ectopic pregnancy to learn more about the warning signs.
  • Placenta issues. The placenta gives the baby oxygen and nutrients during pregnancy. Problems like placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterine wall) or placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix) could prevent Baby from receiving these vital resources.
  • Birth defects. Common defects associated with smoking during pregnancy include a cleft lip or cleft palate.
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth. According to the American Pregnancy Association, over 1,000 babies die a year because their mothers smoked during pregnancy.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is the unexplained death of an infant, usually during sleep.

E-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative to tobacco. They still contain nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco cigarettes that can harm both mom and baby. If you smoke tobacco or e-cigarettes, talk to your doctor about how you can quit. Common methods of quitting include patches, gum, and nasal sprays, but discuss these options with your doctor before trying them. We’ll talk more later on how to break an addiction of any kind.

You can sign up for a free text-message reminder from Smokefree.gov designed for pregnant women who want to stop smoking. You can also call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to talk with a smoking counselor. Lifeline’s nurses and counselors are available to talk through your situation and refer you to other addiction recovery resources.

Alcohol

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is no safe time during pregnancy to drink alcohol, nor a safe amount. Alcohol can cause health issues for an unborn baby during any stage of the pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and stillbirth, as well as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).

Issues associated with FASDs include:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school (especially with math)
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidney, or bones

FASDs are completely avoidable by not drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the risks associated with drinking during pregnancy, and how you can stop. Even if someone has been drinking during pregnancy, it’s never too late to stop and make a healthier choice. The sooner someone starts avoiding alcohol, the healthier their pregnancy can be.

Pornography

Pornography is any sort of visual display or written description of sexual activity or the sexual organs that someone uses to sexually stimulate themselves. Porn could be a photo, a video, or even a story or novel. Someone look at or reads porn to give themselves some sort of sexual or emotional feeling.

Some ask, “What’s the big deal? It’s just between me and my iPhone, right? I’m not hurting anybody.” Actually, porn hurts everybody involved. Fight the New Drug, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the harmful effects of pornography, tells it like it is: porn hurts the brain, relationships, and the world. It’s never positive and tells us lies about real sex and love.

Why is porn harmful?

  • It’s addictive. Porn affects the brain the same way that drugs like cocaine and heroin do. Viewers can get so hooked that they can’t go a day without it. This addiction can also prevent someone’s body from being able to have sex with a real person because they’re so used to these fake images.
  • It’s fake. Just like any movie, porn is scripted, acted, directed, and edited. It does not show what real sex is like, or how real people want to be treated.
  • It’s violent. Porn contributes to the major sexual violence issues that men, women, and kids experience worldwide. One 2010 study analyzed the 50 most popular porn films, and 88% contained physical violence and 49% contained verbal aggression.
  • It’s anti-love. Half of divorces state that porn was a part of why that marriage fell apart. When someone finds out their partner has been looking at porn, they often feel cheated on because their partner is looking at someone else for sexual pleasure.
  • It’s anti-freedom. Many people filmed or photographed for pornography have been sex-trafficked (a fancy word for slavery).  Men, women, and kids all over the globe are forced or pressured into the porn businesses. They’re they’re abused, drugged, not protected from STDs, and treated like property. There’s no way to know by looking at the photo or video whether or not those actors chose to be there. Any porn, even if it’s of two consenting adults, increases the demand for sexual slavery.

Porn alters our own brains to see others as objects and teaches us unhealthy ideas about sex and relationships. The way we perceive sex and relationships will shape how we teach our kids. We can set an example for them and how they should be treated and treat others by stopping our addictions now. Go to fightthenewdrug.org to learn more about how you can spread the word about real love and fight against addiction, broken relationships, and sexual slavery.

Already hooked on porn?

It’s never too late to make changes! Check out our list of tips on overcoming a porn habit here. Fight the New Drug’s Fortify Program is also a great free app to help anyone who wants freedom from porn addiction.

There are too many awesome resources out there to not get help! Choose freedom today.

How to fight an addiction.

Talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking, drinking, and any other addictive habits. You can also:

  • Choose a quit day. On this day, throw away all your cigarettes and smoking supplies, alcohol, or pornographic materials. Mark a day on your calendar within the next couple weeks that you promise to stick to.
  • Write down your reasons for quitting, and look at the list when you think about your addictive behavior.  
  • Identify your triggers. How do you feel when you want to smoke/drink/watch porn? Are you sad, angry, lonely, stressed? Find healthy ways to manage these emotions like exercise, talking to friends and family, seeking counseling, listening to music, or going to a different location.
  • Tell your loved ones about your plan to quit. Ask for their support and come up with a plan together of specific steps they can take to help you. You might ask them to text or call you once a week to ask about your progress or have them read your reasons for quitting to you.
  • Celebrate progress! Mark your calendar with your first day, week, and month of being addiction-free and tell others about your success.

We’re here to help.

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers counseling and prenatal/parenting education at no cost to you. We’d love to help you through your journey of pregnancy and recovery from any addiction and point you toward other great community resources. Make an appointment to meet with our trained nurses and counselors today!

By Kath Crane

Resources:

Aggression And Sexual Behavior In Best Selling Pornography Videos: A Content Analysis Update.

American Pregnancy Association

Center for Disease Control

Fight the New Drug

March of Dimes

SmokeFree.gov

Why Prenatal Vitamins?

What makes prenatal vitamins so special?

You’ve heard it over and over: keep a balanced diet. For sure, this is pivotal in any stage of life, and it’s definitely important to prioritize these during pregnancy. But supplemental vitamins (any pill, capsule, or gummy vitamins) are like nutrition insurance: they cover all the bases. Prenatal vitamins offer extra nutrients that other basic multivitamins may not or don’t contain enough of for pregnancy health.

The VIP nutrients for pregnancy include folic acid, calcium, iron, and iodine. Prenatal vitamins provide higher doses of these than your regular ol’ women’s daily vitamin have, and help our bodies have all the nutritional tools it needs to keep ourselves and baby healthy during pregnancy.

What do these vitamins do?

Folic acid

Everybody talks about how awesome folic acid is for pregnancy, but why? Folic acid guards baby’s brain and spinal cord from neural tube defects. Neural tube defects most often happen within the first month of pregnancy, when we might not even be aware that we’re pregnant. This is why doctors recommend women of any fertile age to get at least 400 mcg of folic acid every day, especially as about half of pregnancies are unplanned.

Foods like leafy greens, nuts, citrus fruits, and beans contain folic acid, but supplementing with a vitamin makes sure our body gets enough.

Calcium

Calcium is already super important for us ladies, as our bones tend to get weaker as we age, but during pregnancy, baby is soaking up some of our calcium intake. To keep our own bones healthy as well as those of our growing kiddos, we can take prenatal vitamins to make up for that loss of calcium.

Calcium and vitamin D often team up in a multivitamin, as vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Make sure whatever prenatal vitamin you’re using has both for maximum effect.

Iodine

Iodine helps out the thyroid, which is especially important during pregnancy. Our babies rely on our thyroid hormones especially for the first three months of pregnancy. His or her thyroid won’t develop until 12 weeks, and then won’t produce enough thyroid hormones until weeks 18-20. A lack of iodine can stunt baby’s physical growth and lead to mental disabilities, deafness, or even stillbirth and miscarriage.  

Iron

During pregnancy, we need about twice as much iron to make extra blood for Baby. Iron also helps carry oxygen from our lungs to the rest of the body, as well as to baby’s. Too little iron can cause anemia, leaving us feeling extra tired. Anemia can also lead to Baby being born underweight or premature.

Here’s a breakdown of typically recommended nutrients to look for in a prenatal vitamin:

  • 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
  • 400 IU of vitamin D.
  • 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium.
  • 70 mg of vitamin C.
  • 3 mg of thiamine (B1).
  • 2 mg of riboflavin (B2).
  • 20 mg of niacin (B3).
  • 6 mcg of vitamin B12.
  • 10 mg of vitamin E.
  • 15 mg of zinc.
  • 17 mg of iron.
  • 150 micrograms of iodine

Vitamins making you queasy?

Some women feel nauseous while take prenatal vitamins. If that’s you, talk to your doctor. He or she might be able to recommend a different brand that could be a better fit for you. Chewable or gummy vitamins sometimes go down easier. Taking vitamins right before bed or with meals can also help prevent an upset stomach.

Talk to your doc!

Always inform your doctor about any vitamins you’re taking. He or she might even give you a prescription for a certain type of prenatal vitamin, depending on your medical history. Taking too much or too little of a vitamin could be harmful to you and baby, so it’s always best to communicate about your diet and any vitamins or medications with your healthcare team.

Want to know more?

Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers services like prenatal education classes and ultrasounds at no cost. Our trained nurses help women every week get the info they need to take care of their body and baby during pregnancy and love to talk through any questions you have. Call 660-665-5688 or click below to make an appointment.

By Kath Crane

Resources

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/pregnancy-thyroid-disease

https://www.webmd.com/baby/are-you-getting-enough-iron#1

https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/prenatal-vitamins#2

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-vitamins/art-20046945

What is Love?

Modeling true love for your kids.

Love…it’s a word we throw around a ton, but have a hard time defining. We might say we’re “in-love” with someone, but what is that all about? When we use the same word to describe our feelings about pizza or our favorite movie, what does it really mean to love another person, especially in a romantic relationship?

As new or expectant parents, we need to remember that our relationships with adults affect our relationships with our kids. Michael Einev suggests in research published in The Journal of Psychology that the quality of marital relationships between parents influences the expectations their children have about their own future intimate relationships. The ways we show love in every area of our lives become our kids’ working definitions of what love is and how human beings should be treated.

A dictionary definition might not be the best way to figure this out, so let’s talk about what true love looks like and what it doesn’t look like. There are so many ways to show someone you love them, but we’ll discuss some major defining characteristics that set love apart from just a crush or infatuation.

Real love…

  • Respects. You can’t have love without respect. Respect means to hold esteem for a person, to recognize their priceless value and act on that. This includes speaking kindly, honoring each other’s boundaries, and listening well.
  • Is loyal. Love looks like standing up for somebody else, not going behind their back. Loyalty is like respecting another person even when they’re not present. In a romantic relationship, this means staying true to each other and saying no to other romantic interests.
  • Cares about others’ needs. When we love another person, we do what we can to help them be healthy emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, socially, and spiritually. Love means thinking beyond our own desires and preferences to meet another’s needs.
  • Grows with time. Feelings fade, but love lasts. It’s a choice. We can choose to love someone every day, even when we aren’t necessarily happy or feeling out-of-this-world-in-love. As we keep choosing that person, we can get better and better at loving them.
  • Has boundaries. This may sound restrictive, but one of the most loving things we could do for another person is to set ground rules together for the relationship. Boundaries are limits we make for ourselves that tell us what is healthy or unhealthy. For instance, having physical boundaries: what kind of touch is appropriate for this relationship, or what activities should be saved for when this relationship is more committed? Or emotional boundaries: what is appropriate to say to each other? How much time should we be spending together?

This all might sound pretty straight forward, but our culture confuses us with all kinds of unhealthy misconceptions about love. Let’s tackle the characteristics of infatuation, or “fake love.”

Fake love…

  • Obsesses or possesses. It might feel like love if you can’t stop thinking about that person, or hate to see them with someone else, but this is actually toxic. If one or both parties tries to control the other’s schedule, behavior, body, or anything else that belongs to them, this is manipulation, a warning sign of abuse.
  • Revolves around physical attraction. Though being attracted to someone physically can be an important part of a romantic relationship, that should never be the primary focus or reason those two people are together. Physical attraction will come and go. A relationship can’t stand on that alone, there must be a deeper attraction that values the person as a whole, not for their body.
  • Feels unsure or unsafe. If either party is scared or intimidated of the other, that’s another red flag for abuse. Both people should feel safe physically and emotionally. Love never uses power to get what it wants.
  • Moves fast. Fast and furious relationships often end as dramatically as they begin. When a couple can’t keep their hands off each other, or start throwing around plans to get married or move in together early on, they’re selling their relationship short. Real love leaves room for the relationship to grow before getting serious and doesn’t put someone else at physical or emotional risk because of impatience.
  • Wants what feels good. If we act on every impulse we have, we put ourselves and others in danger. Just because something feels pleasurable or exciting, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Love means looking beyond the moment to what is best for the health of both people.

Love is action.

Remember, how we treat others and how we let others treat us speaks volumes to our children. It tells our sons and daughters what they should expect from their own relationships. Let’s all take some time to look for real love in our lives, and expel any fake love. We owe it to our kids, friends, family, partners, and ourselves.

Want to learn more about healthy parenting? Check out Lifeline’s other blog posts to get more info on issues relevant to parents and expectant parents. You can also make an appointment to get in-person education and earn baby supplies at no cost to you: contact us today to learn more.

By Kath Crane

Resources:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00223980.2013.805116#.VDAw1_ldWbM

Flu Fighters

The flu? No thanks. Getting the flu while pregnant? Super-extra-no thanks.

Catching influenza during pregnancy puts us and our babies at higher risk for health complications. To make matters worse, our immune systems are weaker during pregnancy. Our bodies are already working extra hard to keep a growing human alive, and this stress leaves our bodies extra susceptible to illness.

Put on your supermom cape and guard yourself and your little one against flu season. Know the risks and symptoms as well as how to prevent and treat them.

 

 

WHAT ACTUALLY IS THE FLU?

The flu (or influenza, if you want to be fancy) is a virus that spreads easily from person to person. It can spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. Flu germs can build on commonly used items like door handles and phones; touching those items and then touching our eyes, ears, and mouths could carry the virus into our systems. Common flu symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath/Cough
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sudden chills or fever
  • Body aches

The flu typically lasts about a week, but can last longer in pregnant women and children.

 

 

WHY IS IT A BIGGER DEAL DURING PREGNANCY?

If we get the flu while pregnant, we’re more likely to feel more severe symptoms and be sick longer. Growing baby bumps put extra pressure on the lungs. Add in the flu and its effects on the lungs, and breathing gets that much harder.

Not only that: according to the American Pregnancy Association, some studies have shown that having the flu while pregnant can increase the risk of preterm labor/birth and delivering low-birth-weight babies. These issues can then lead to more complications for us and our babies. Not good. So yes, let’s take the flu seriously, especially during pregnancy.

 

 

HOW CAN I PREVENT THE FLU?

Take the flu seriously, but also take comfort in the fact that there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and your baby!

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Eat a well-balanced diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Sleep 7-9 hours every night.
  • Stay away from crowds and anyone who’s sick.
  • Keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.
  • Don’t share food and drinks with others.
  • And…

GET THE FLU SHOT!

The CDC recommends all pregnant women to get the flu shot. The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies, since it does not contain a live virus and it’s impossible to get the flu from it. However, the nasal spray and mist options are not recommended, as they contain a weak but live virus.

This vaccine will not only protect us, but it also gives our developing babies an extra boost. It can continue to protect baby from the flu even six months after birth.

 

 

WHAT IF I GET THE FLU?

Contact your doctor immediately. He or she can prescribe you pregnancy-safe antiviral medications. Taking these meds ASAP can reduce the risks associated with the flu and decrease the amount of time you’d be sick. You should especially seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Feeling your baby move less or not at all
  • High fever that doesn’t go down after taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Don’t take any medicine without checking with your provider first.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or belly
  • Signs or symptoms of flu that get better but then come back with fever and a worse cough
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
  • Vomiting that’s severe or doesn’t stop

As always, we should talk to our doctors before taking any sort of medication or getting any vaccines. Ask your pregnancy care team more about how you can best take care of your body and your baby through the flu season and beyond!

Want to learn more about prenatal care and parenting? Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic offers education, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, and more at no-cost. Call or click below to make your appointment with us today.

Make an Appointment

Resources:

https://hrpregnancy.com/dangers-of-flu-while-pregnant/

Flu During Pregnancy


https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/influenza-and-pregnancy.aspx

Mis-Conceptions: Pregnancy Myths Busted

Let’s face it: most of us have had some gaps in our sex ed. It’s a complex subject, and one a lot of people get uncomfortable talking about. Unfortunately, this has led to some pregnancy myths circling around out there that we need to bust. Don’t get fooled by the old wives’ tales: here is our Lifeline Mythbusters: Getting Pregnant Edition.

MYTH: I can’t get pregnant the first time I have sex.

 

This is 100% false. There’s nothing different about the first time as far as conception is concerned. Plenty of other factors influence how likely someone is to get pregnant, but whether it’s the first time or the fiftieth time doesn’t make a difference.

MYTH: I can only get pregnant around Day 14 of my cycle.

 

For “textbook woman,” ovulation occurs around the 14th day of her cycle. Ovulation is when one (or more) of the ovaries releases an egg that could then be fertilized by sperm if that woman has sex. But we’re not all textbook women. Some women have longer cycles, some shorter, and some experience very different length cycles from month to month. A woman could ovulate on Day 14, or 7, or 20, or 28…you get the idea. Plus, sperm can live inside the female reproductive system up to 5 days, and the egg remains for about two days after ovulation before it gets reabsorbed back into the body. Even if a woman did ovulate exactly on Day 14, if she had sex within five days or so before that or a few days after, she could conceive. There’s really about a week’s worth of time that we could get pregnant based on all of those variables.

MYTH: I can’t get pregnant on my period.

 

It’s less likely to get pregnant during that good ol’ time of the month, but it’s definitely possible. Like we talked about with the last myth, some women ovulate early, and sperm can live inside the body for a few days if the conditions are right. For example, if a woman had sex on Day 4 during her period and ovulated on Day 8, it’s possible she could get pregnant.

MYTH: I can only get pregnant using certain positions.

 

No matter how sperm enters a woman’s reproductive system, there’s a chance of conception. Sperm can swim in multiple directions, so although some positions may increase the likelihood of the sperm reaching the egg, the possibility of pregnancy is there no matter the position.

MYTH: I won’t get pregnant if I use birth control.

 

Contraceptives, such as condoms or the birth control pill, can reduce the likelihood of getting pregnant when used consistently and correctly. However, they aren’t a 100% no-pregnancy guarantee. Each type of birth control has a typical use failure rate, which is how many pregnancies result even while using that method. If you have questions, talk to your doctor about the effectiveness of birth control options.

Side note: It’s also important to know that condoms are the only type of contraceptive that provide any protection against STIs/STDs. Condoms can reduce the risk of contracting an STI by about 85%, but there’s still a 15% chance of infection. Other birth control methods such as the pill don’t protect against these infections.

MYTH: I can’t get pregnant if I’m breastfeeding.

 

When a woman breastfeeds, her body usually does not ovulate or have a period. However, like all of these other myths we’ve discussed, it’s not a 100% guarantee that she won’t ovulate and get pregnant. Even if a woman’s period hasn’t returned yet after breastfeeding, her ovaries could release an egg which would mean a period is around the corner, unless she has sex and conceives before that period happens.

Hopefully this edition of Lifeline Mythbusters helps fill in some of those knowledge gaps we may have about our bodies. The reproductive system is complex, and fascinating to research. Arm yourself with knowledge: keep asking questions, and ask people you trust! A Google search can be helpful, but it’s also easy to find faulty info that just feeds those pregnancy myths. If you have questions about pregnancy, our certified nurses at Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic would love to meet with you. Call or make an appointment today to learn about our no-cost, confidential resources.

 

Make an Appointment

Resources:

Pathway Health Clinic

Clearblue

WebMD

 

Know Your Rights: How Title IX Protects Pregnant and Parenting Students

Being a college student is no simple job.

Yes, I said job. As a student, you’re doing important work that’s opening up so many possibilities for you. Your studies have the potential to transform lives all around the world! And for 4.8 million college undergraduate students, sometimes changing the world involves parenting a child. That’s right, there are 4.8 million undergrads raising kids, and 3.4 million of those students are women. So if you’re a pregnant or parenting student, know that you are far from alone!

You should also know that you have rights. Title IX protects pregnant and parenting students, providing them with pivotal rights that allow these women and men to thrive in their roles as academics and parents. Let’s do a little myth-busting to find out more about your rights to succeed in school and achieve your goals:

Myth: My school could force me to change academic programs or drop out of school because of my pregnancy.

Fact: Schools must give all students the same access to educational programs. Your teachers and administrators can’t make you drop out or switch programs if you’re pregnant or parenting. They have to allow you the opportunity to make up missed assignments, assessments, or attendance points.

Myth: My absences from class because of doctors appointments or other pregnancy-related events aren’t excused, and my teachers can dock points off my grades for these absences.

Fact: Your school has to excuse these absences. They have to allow you the opportunity to make up missed assignments, assessments, or attendance points. Under Title IX, professors and other school faculty cannot penalize you for your pregnancy or pregnancy-related medical issues. Even if a school allows professors to control makeup work/attendance policies, federal civil rights overrides these policies. They may require you to have a doctor’s note, but only if school policy applies that requirement to other medical conditions.

Myth: My scholarships can be taken away because of my pregnancy.

Fact: You cannot lose your scholarships just because you’re pregnant. As long as you stay in school, any merit, athletic, or needs-based scholarships cannot be taken from you. Your pregnancy doesn’t undo any of your past achievements or financial needs, and Title IX requires schools to respect that.

Myth: If my professors or classmates harass me or make offensive comments to me about my pregnancy, there’s nothing I can do about it.

Fact: No one has the right to harass you, and you do have the right to be heard. Title IX requires schools to prevent sex-based harassment, including harassment about pregnancy. If you receive any treatment like this, talk to your school’s Title IX coordinator. No one can penalize you for filing that complaint.

Myth: My school doesn’t have to make any accommodations for me like extra bathroom breaks or breastfeeding breaks.

Fact: Your school must provide elevator access, a larger desk, frequent bathroom and breastfeeding breaks. If you have any pregnancy-related medical issues, such as morning sickness, gestational diabetes, severe pelvic or back pain, or carpal tunnel, you have the right to certain accommodations to meet your needs. For instance, if you can’t move heavy lab equipment or carry your books, the school should provide people to assist you. If you have pregnancy-related carpal tunnel, you can have someone write your class notes for you.

Myth: My coach can kick me off the team because I’m pregnant or parenting.

Fact: By law, your team cannot discriminate against you because of your pregnancy or parental status. You can continue to participate as long as your doctor recommends it and you feel comfortable with playing. The NCAA allows a special “red shirt season” for pregnant athletes, which means you are still on the team and the roster, but are excused from playing due to medical needs. Title IX enforces that a schools must treat a pregnant athlete like an athlete with any other medical condition.

Myth: There’s no way I can be a student while pregnant or parenting.

Fact: YOU CAN DO THIS! Like we talked about earlier, millions of people are doing this right now and millions upon millions have done it before you. There are so many amazing opportunities ahead of you, and being pregnant or a parent doesn’t change that. Find out more about your rights here (link to Pregnant on Campus?).

If you’re an expecting or new parent, help is here for you.

Not only at your school, but from us at Lifeline. We’d love to talk more with you about your rights as well as provide you with pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, prenatal/parenting education, counseling, baby supplies, and more. All of our services are confidential and offered at no cost. If you need a cheerleader, we’ve got a whole squad waiting for you at the clinic. Really, you can do this.

Resources:

National Women’s Law Center

Pregnant On Campus Initiative

The Pregnant Scholar

 

Lifeline’s Boutique Tour

Why join Lifeline’s Earn While You Learn Program?

Free education + free baby supplies = uhhh why not??

New or expecting moms and dads can enroll in Earn While You Learn, an educational program covering topics beginning with prenatal development all the way to parenting a baby/toddler. Our clients love the information they gain from these lessons. But the benefits don’t stop there: every EWYL appointment earns you five points, and attending other client events like group classes or DadLINE racks up even more points. So what do you do with those points?

Allow me to introduce you to the Lifeline Boutique…

Beautiful, right?

The racks are filled with brand new and like-new baby clothes, from premie to 2T. Your baby can sleep/eat/cry in style with these adorable ensembles:

The boutique has clothes for you, too! You can borrow maternity clothes for free and just return them after baby is born:

And we’ve got way more than just clothes: the boutique covers all your baby hygiene needs!

Because we want to make sure all our client babies have the nutrition they need to grow big and strong, all food and formula is free.

Nurture baby’s mind and creativity with toys and books.


These a just a few examples of the variety of supplies we offer at the boutique! Hats, shoes, bibs, photo frames, nursing supplies: the whole kit and caboodle. Most items are donated from folks in our community who want to help out new parents. Sometimes we even get big ticket item donations, like a crib or stroller. You really never know exactly what treasures you’ll find from week to week!

 

Interested in getting in on education and supplies? Make an appointment today to get started on Earn While You Learn or hear about our other no-cost, confidential programs.

Make an Appointment

Find Us

CONTACT US
Lifeline Pregnancy Help Clinic
1515 N. New St.
Kirksville, MO 63501
Get Directions
Text: 660.851.4350
Call: 660.665.5688
lifelinephc@gmail.com